iPhone 4 bar problem: Not the first time

Apple openly admitted on Friday that there is a problem with iPhone 4 when it comes to making calls:

"Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong."

However, what the company fails to say in the letter is this isn’t the first time the problem has affected Apple iPhone users, nor the first time that Apple has changed the way the iPhone shows the signal strength to its owner.

It's a problem that was addressed in 2008 - under the radar, but one that ultimately could be the cause for landing Apple in the hot water it's in now.

In July 2008, 2 years ago, Apple updated its then new operating system for the iPhone 3G with the iPhone 2.0 software update. But a month later, in August, it rushed out an update called iPhone 2.0.1, which, according to the support notes, reportedly just looked at fixing a number of bugs.

However at the time many sites, including AppleInsider, reported that:

"Apple may have changed the calibration of the iPhone's reception bars while connected to a 3G network to reflect a stronger signal than before".

Zdnet reported:

"One major improvement that I am seeing is that the reception capability has improved with the working 3G/EDGE data auto-switching".

Did Apple simply alter the software to show an improvement in performance when it came to showing reception quality?

Fast-forward to July 2010 and Apple issues an open letter about the iPhone 4 titled "Letter from Apple Regarding iPhone 4." In the letter, Apple says:

"Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars".

And here is the killer sentence:

"Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place".

So the question is, has Apple's meddling 2 years ago, with its iPhone 2.0.1 update, created this issue? Has it come back to bite the Californian company in the arse?



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